Reflexology is a service often offered by spas who specialise in massage and so we are sometimes asked whether we provide it (the answer is that we do not!). But since a Thai foot massage would not feel too different from a reflexology session, we will write a little about reflexology to help clarify the difference.
What is it?
Reflexology is a cross between acupuncture and massage: practitioners believe that each point targeted corresponds to another body part or organ, but rather than targeting them by needle the reflexologist applies manual pressure. The reflexology target points are all on the recipient’s feet, hands and (less frequently) ears.
Reflexology sessions are generally 45-60 minutes and start with some Q&A about the patient’s lifestyle, health, diet, and any conditions for which they are seeking treatment.
The therapist will then determine the range of reflexology points to be targeted, relevant to the objectives of the patient. The reflexology is normally carried out lying down, or on a recliner, and the setting would not be so different from a traditional massage treatment room (soft music, lighting etc.) to aid relaxation.
The therapist then uses their fingers and palms to apply gentle pressure to the identified target points. While reflexologists do use their hands, and oil or cream is normally used when applying pressure to the feet, reflexology isn’t strictly a form of massage
Where did it come from?
As with so many traditional remedies, reflexology is thought to have its roots in China, although there is plenty of evidence of its use in ancient Egypt, some 2500 years BC. In modern times, Dr William Fitzgerald is usually credited as the “father” of the modern form in United States in the early 20th century, having studied the practice being carried out by native Americans.
Does it work?
Well it is non-invasive and involves no medicines or drugs so at the very worst it is harmless! There is scant evidence of reflexology treating medical conditions, but some limited evidence for its help with pain and anxiety-related conditions. Our opinion is that similar relaxation and anxiety-reducing benefits can be achieved with a massage, and in fact a reflexology session feels quite like a hand/foot massage treatment
Some of our therapists are qualified to offer reflexology but it’s not a service we currently offer in either branch. If you don’t feel like trying a full-blown reflexology session then you can always try a Thai foot massage instead!